SAN FRANCISCO–The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an all-services overlay that will add a new 628 area code to the same geographic region as the existing 415 area code in order to provide additional telephone numbers to meet increasing consumer demand.
New telephone numbers with the 628 area code will be issued to customers requesting new telecommunication services beginning 13 months from today.
The 415 area code, serving San Francisco and Marin, is expected to use up all the available prefixes (the first three numbers after the area code in a phone number) by October 2015. The CPUC’s action today approves a request of the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), the neutral third-party area code relief planner for California, requesting approval of an area code overlay to provide additional numbering resources to meet the demand for telephone numbers.
An area code overlay adds a second area code to the same geographic region as an existing area code. Therefore, multiple area codes can co-exist within the same geographic region. Customers will not be required to change their existing telephone numbers. But, consumers calling any number in the 415 area code will have to dial the area code plus phone number beginning six months from today. If they do not, their calls will still go through for a six-month grace period. The new dialing procedure must be used beginning one year from today.
To help educate consumers about the new area code, the CPUC has established a public education program task force consisting of CPUC staff and at least one representative from each telephone service provider or industry holder of numbering resources in the 415 area code.
On September 6, 2012, NANPA held a meeting with service providers to the 415 area code to get their input regarding the most appropriate method of introducing the 628 area code. The industry consensus resulting from that meeting was to recommend an overlay.
In January 2013, the CPUC held four meetings to provide information and obtain input from the public regarding the opening of a new area code in the region currently served by the 415 area code.
The 415 area code was one of the original three area codes in California, established in 1947. It originally covered central California, south of area code 916 and north of area code 213. In 1950 its boundaries were realigned: area code 916 was reduced to the north-eastern corner of California, while 415 was extended along the north coast to the Oregon border. Since its creation, the 415 area code has had four additional area codes added. On March 1, 1959, in a three-way split, area code 707 was created for the northern coast (excluding Marin County) and area code 408 for the South Bay. On September 2, 1991, area code 510 was created for the East Bay. On August 2, 1997, area code 650 was created; the partition approximately followed the boundary between San Francisco, which, along with Marin County, kept 415, and San Mateo County to the south, which received the new code.
In December 1998, with the entry of new telephone companies into the market, the number of available prefixes was low enough that NANPA petitioned the CPUC for a new area code. But number conservation measures adopted by the Federal Communications Commission and supported by the CPUC extended the life of the 415 area code.